Category Archives: Classes

Buddhist Women Ancestors Guiding the Way

If you really want to cry for somebody, why not cry for yourself?
Why not cry for all of us — who are just passing through.
Fall on your knees and weep.
Get it all out.
Now get up. You’ve got work to do.

From The First Free Women, Poems of the Early Buddhist Nuns

Please join Karen DeCotis, Laurie Senauke, and Susan Marvin for a 4-week class on the women ancestors, with a focus on how they encourage us to continue to practice and awaken together in these challenging times. We will read and discuss stories that offer the inspiration of their presence in our very own lives.

Classes are 4 Mondays – November 16, 23, 30, and December 7 from 7:30—8:30 in the Online Zendo.

We extend a warm welcome to anyone who would like to attend the series or individual evenings. Enrollment is open to all; no need to sign up.

Donations for our class offerings support BZC’s programs; your discretionary amount is greatly appreciated. Donations by check to BZC or with PayPal using the CLASSES tab on our Donation Page.

More Class Materials

List of women ancestors chanted at Berkeley Zen Center
Background material on BZC’s list of women ancestors

Recommended Reading

(Note: this is just a brief selection of the many books available by and about Women in Buddhism)
Books about Women Ancestors

Women of the Way, Sallie Tisdale
The Hidden Lamp, Ed by Florence Caplow & Susan Moon
Daughters of Emptiness, Beata Grant
Women Poets of China, Kenneth Rexroth & Ling Chung
Zen Women, Beyond Tea-Ladies, Iron Maiden’s & Macho Masters, Grace Schireson
The First Free Women: Poems of the Early Buddhist Nun, Matty Weingast
First Buddhist Women: Poems and Stories of Awakening, Susan Murcott

Books by Contemporary Women Buddhist Teachers

Bringing Zen Home, the Healing Heart of Japanese Women’s Rituals, Paula Arai
Subtle Sound, Maureen Stuart
The Way of Tenderness, Zenju Earthlyn Manuel
A Bigger Sky, Awakening a Fierce Feminine Buddhism, Pamela Weiss
A White Tea Bowl, Mitsu Suzuki

The Subtle & Poetic Teaching of Tung-shan

Two Mondays—August 24 and 31, from 7 to 8:15pm

Ross Blum will present a two-session class on this 9th century Chinese Zen teacher from whom our Soto School derives its name. At our first meeting we’ll study a selection of stories compiled in The Record of Tung-shan translated by William Powell. In our second class we’ll explore the “Five Positions,” his description of the unfolding of a Zen student’s practice within the world of form and emptiness as it relates to our life today. See below for class materials.

While Dōgen Zenji eschewed systems or techniques in practice, we’ll see that he had absorbed this 400 year-old ancestor’s system when composing Genjokoan, a seminal fascicle in Shobogenzō.

The class will be held in BZC’s Online Zendo and is open to all; no need to register.

Class offering by donation supports BZC’s programs. Your discretionary amount is greatly appreciated.  Donations by check to BZC or with PayPal using the Classes tab on our Donation Page .

Class Materials

Here’s a PDF of the text we’ll be using. and the associated stories we’ll review: 1, 4, 8, 9, 11, 18, 30, 49, 56, 71, 74, 78, 92, 98, 102 and 103.
Two versions of the Five Positions
Outside Sojun Roshi’s office Sweetpea sits upright on the third position
and then embodies both the fourth and fifth positions